HIS 136: The Scientific Revolution

What does it mean to understand nature in modern—and pre-modern—ways? Today we take for granted that science involves mathematical laws, experimentation, discovering new phenomena, and the creation of technologies that provide power over nature. None of these was true about European natural science in 1500. All had become widely accepted by 1700. This class treats the transformation of European ideas about nature, knowledge, and technology during the age of Copernicus, Galileo, Descartes, and Newton. We will explore the intellectual culture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to examine issues such as scientific methods, instruments and experimentation, religion, and the control of nature. Topics include astronomy, physics, chemistry/alchemy, natural magic, medicine, and natural history. Evaluation is based on short writing assignments, quizzes, midterm, and final. This course satisfies GE requirements for AH, SS, and WC. There are no prerequisites and no prior knowledge is necessary. For further information contact .